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A Sermon Lived Out by Todd Burpo Everyone has a story, a testimony about what God has done for him or her. Your story may not come in a book with a yellow cover and a cute little boy on the front, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as real as our story is. We all have stories of what God has done in our lives, and by sharing that story we can inspire and encourage others who may be stuck in a crisis or heartbreaking part of their story. Combine that truth with what we tell audiences across the country: too often in the church we have a messed-up perception that pastors and missionaries are the only ones with a calling to share the gospel. Yes, God’s call to pastors and missionaries is unique, but whether you’re a plumber or electrician, hotel maid or restaurant dishwasher, schoolteacher or stay-at-home parent, building janitor or corporate executive, you have a calling too. There is not one person who doesn’t have a calling to impact others with God’s message of love, grace, and the promise of heaven. Maybe your calling is to influence and encourage coworkers. Maybe it’s an after-work calling, like Sonja’s, to the children in your church. Maybe it’s to the folks living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Or maybe you’re homebound and your calling is to pray for those in need. Discover your own calling through prayer and by considering what you enjoy doing and who you enjoy being with. Then watch for God to open up opportunities for you. I have shared my story of how I felt God calling me to be a pastor — and I enjoy preaching. But for most folks, having a calling has nothing to do with preaching. And even God’s call to preachers isn’t solely about preaching. Instead, a calling means God asks us to live so that we touch others’ lives for Him. That’s how the most powerful sermons are shared. The nurse in the hospital who told me, “There has to be a God because this is a miracle” probably wouldn’t have had the same reaction if I had simply met her out on the street somewhere and told her what happened — that friends back home were joining us in praying for Colton and that what happened next was nothing short of miraculous. Instead, she saw that “sermon” quietly played out, and as a result, she became convinced that God is real. The nurse saw us praying, and she saw our church friends coming in and out of the hospital. I’ve been told that in that hospital they can tell when a patient comes in from our congregation because they see the same praying, supportive people there visiting and encouraging the patient and his or her family. In fact, our church custodian had surgery there, and recently she told me later that when the doctor came in to check on her that night, maybe after seeing familiar church family and friends there earlier, he smiled and said, “You go to Todd’s church, don’t you?” Those people who keep showing up at that hospital to pray for and support each other are making an impact on the hospital staff, who are seeing a sermon lived out. Who knows how — or whom — your story, or your life, will impact? You might be leading someone to heaven. There’s always room there for more!

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1 Justin Halloran = "For those unfamiliar with Todd's book, "Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back."  You can buy it online here."